MEET THE TEAM

Each individual on The Blanchard Institute’s recovery team is extremely passionate about the work we do. Everyone brings with them their own unique set of skills and experience, and together, we form an unstoppable team that’s dedicated to helping patients and families across North Carolina, through our Charlotte and Lake Norman outpatient rehabilitation facilities.

We look forward to being a part of your recovery journey.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Ward Blanchard, MA, MBA, CCS, LCAS – Founder/CEO

Ward Blanchard, MA, MBA, CCS, LCAS FOUNDER & CEO

Ward has become one of the most prominent mental health and Substance Use Disorder professionals in the country for his innovative work with clients and their family systems.

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Allison Christie

Allison Christie, MBA, CADC-I, CAI-I, CPSS Chief Administrative Officer

Allison was instrumental in the establishment of The Blanchard Institute in early 2016 and continues to lead the team as the Chief Administrative Officer.

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Judy-Goodwin

Judy Goodwin COMMUNITY RELATIONS director

Judy Goodwin brings 24 years of knowledge and experience working as an Admissions Coordinator in the field and is well connected to the community and behavioral health industry.

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Erica Baskin

erica baskin Outreach Development Representative

Erica brings an authentic and relationship-based approach to Business Development, and is excited to continue helping others in a more local outpatient setting.

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Lee Black, BS Director of DIGITAL Media

Lee was raised in Charlotte, NC and has over 10 years of successful experience in both business development and digital media.

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CLINICAL TEAM

Stacey Surratt clinical manager

STACEY SURRATT, MS, MT-BC, LCAS, CCS-I COMPLIANCE AND CLINICAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Stacey works from a relationship-based approach and enjoys incorporating creativity and multi-sensory tools into therapy sessions as a way to fully engage and retain growth from participation in the treatment process.

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SAMANdA STEVENSON, LCAS, CSI, LCMHCA, NCC LEAD PRIMARY THERAPIST

Samanda’s awareness of the intersection between substance abuse and mental health with the criminal justice system inspired her to pursue a career in addiction counseling.

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Annie-Morse

Annie Morse, CADC-I LEAD THERAPIST

Annie has a passion to help others around her, specifically in the field of Mental Health, and helps the team maintain the high standards of compliance required of their Joint Commission Accreditation.

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Thea Wooten

Thea wooten, M.A., lcas PRIMARY THERAPIST

Before joining the team, Thea worked in a medicine assisted treatment program as a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist for 5 years, where she developed her passion for working in addictions.

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Cassandra Gordon

cassandra gordon, LCAS, lcsw-a, cadc PRIMARY THERAPIST

Cassandra utilizes a strengths-based approach, often including aspects of motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Amy Conner

amy conner, ms, lcmhc-a cONTRACT THERAPIST

Amy has a passion for working with and advocating for individuals with substance use disorders along with individuals in the first responder community.

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Brittany-Bolden

Brittany Bolden, LMFT-A, LCAS-A, CADC-I, NCC MULTI-FAMILY GROUP THERAPIST

Brittany is currently working on her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Capella University.

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Gabby Milando

gabrielle milando, lcmhc-A, ncc PRIMARY THERAPIST

Gabrielle has a passion for working with individuals with substance use disorders. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2020 with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

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corrie thomas

Corrie Thomas, MS, RD, LD/N Nutritionist

Corrie has seen firsthand the importance of nutrition as a key component to recovery and enjoys working with clients and simplifying nutrition for their individual needs.

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Ruth Schultz

Ruth Schultz, CADC-I

PRIMARY THERAPIST

Ruth has a passion for working in the mental health field, particularly working with, and advocating for individuals with substance use disorders and their families.

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Mat Sandifer

Mat Sandifer, LCSW, LCAS, CSI Clinical DIRECTOR

As an advocate for substance abuse treatment, Mat is a founding member of CURE Triad, a public safety, public health, public education, healthcare, and substance use disorder providers and community advocates coalition.

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Josh Zummo

Josh Zummo, MS, LCMHC PRIMARY THERAPIST

Josh is passionate about building a strong working relationship and views it as the foundation to move forward as therapist and client.

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Casey True

CASEY TRUE, Extended Care Coordinator

As someone who firmly believes in the possibility of human transformation, Casey was ecstatic to find The Blanchard Institute and a team of people who operate with the same beliefs.

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Xaria Hudson, bsw Clinical Assistant

Xaria is from Goldsboro, North Carolina and moved to Charlotte in 2017. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is currently working towards her Master’s in Social Work at Walden University.

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SARA PATTERSON, BS RECOVERY CONNECTOR

Sara Patterson is from Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. She is currently working towards being a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-I). 

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rosemarie palazzolo, cdac PROGRAM MANAGER

Rosemarie Palazzolo began working in the substance use disorder field in New York, in her early 20’s. Relocating to North Carolina in 2007, she became a primary counselor at Fellowship Hall, in Greensboro NC.

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LUTICIA MCKNIGHT, BA, CPSS RECOVERY CONNECTOR

Luticia She has over 20 years of experience working with substance use disorder and mental health patients. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Services, specializing in substance abuse.

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TIFFANY RASCOE, BS RECOVERY CONNECTOR

Tiffany was raised in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina after earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her previous career ventures include working with children with developmental disabilities.

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Johnny “Chicago” Marks, NCIP, NCRC II RECOVERY CONNECTOR

Johnny “Chicago” started as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Destin Recovery Center in Destin, Fl. in 2014. As Safety Net Recovery’s North Carolina Director of Operations from August 2017 -2020, Johnny became an immediate friend and collaborator with The Blanchard Institute.

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KEYONTE EASTER, MA PASTORAL COUNSELING CLINICAL ASSISTANT

Keyonte Easter is a Charlotte native and has lived in the area since graduating from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Sports Studies. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Gardner-Webb University.

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MEDICAL TEAM

Mary Urban

MARY URBAN, MSN, PMHNP-BC, APRN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

Mary serves our patients using an empathetic and client-focused approach to allow for the highest level of care. She is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in the treatment of substance abuse, trauma, ADH, and anxiety and mood disorders.

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Kelly Carrigan

KELLY CARRIGAN, CADC-I MEDICAL SCHEDULER

Kelly has found her passion and purpose in helping others to discover the possibilities of a life in recovery. As an alumna of The Blanchard Institute, she believes fully in the mission of TBI, and she has a strong desire to give back and pay it forward.

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Valerie Morrison

VALERIE MORRISON, RN

With great skills, Valerie comes to The Blanchard Institute to provide the highest level of compassion and hope for every person she encounters. She is currently working on her CARN certification and will be entering a master’s level nursing program in 2023.

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RAHEL AYALEW, FNP-C NURSE PRACTITIONER

Rachel went to Salam Nursing college and received her Nursing diploma in 2002 and her BSN from Grand Canyon University in 2014. She then earned her master’s degree in Family Nurse Practice from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte in 2019.

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ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM

Mika Rhodes office administrator

MIKA RHODES, OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

As the Office Administrator and first point of contact, Mika’s goal is to remain grounded and be that safe landing place as our clients take those brave first steps toward a new way of living/being.

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GINGER KAVANAGH, BA OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Ginger was raised in Augusta, Georgia.  She graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing.  She has lived in the Charlotte area since 2019.

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Kenzie Smith

KENZIE SMITH, CADC-I

Following treatment at The Blanchard Institute, Kenzie joined the team in February of 2022. She is pursuing a career in helping others shape and foster their mental wellbeing, and she is sharing that journey with the organization that guided her through a pivotal part of her life.

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ADMISSIONS TEAM

Shelley-Wood

Shelley Wood, BA Admissions Coordinator

Shelley lends understanding and compassion as clients begin their search for the treatment center where they’ll begin their journey to recovery.

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jANE pOON, MSW Admissions Coordinator

Jane is a native of Southern California and now calls North Carolina her new home after relocating seven years ago. She has always had a deep passion for behavioral health, along with a desire to better understand human behavior to best serve others.

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mICHAEL tRUE Admissions Coordinator

Michael was raised in the Carolinas and personally found recovery in 2018 after battling his own substance use disorder since he was a young adult. After joining the behavioral health industry as a Benefits Specialist in 2020, he realized he wanted to be more involved in the recovery process.

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Monique Overstreet

MONIQUE OVERSTREET, LCMHC, QS CLINICAL ASSESSMENT SPECIALIST

Monique believes that awareness is key, once you become aware of the barriers hindering you from thriving, you welcome the process of change – INVESTING in YOURSELF is the first step. She is very open-minded, loves to learn new things and TBI seems to be the place for this.

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jULIE hATFIELD, lcmhc contract assessor

After most of her life in Ohio, Julie now calls Charlotte home. She holds dual licensure as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and School Counselor after completing a Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development from Walsh University.

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FINANCIAL TEAM

Angela Opalak

ANGELA OPALAK DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS

Angela Opalak has over two decades of experience providing skillful leadership, direction and solutions for all aspects of healthcare practice management. She was an integral part in assisting in the launch of The Blanchard Institute in 2017…

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Jennifer Cassidy | Revenue Cycle Specialist at The Blanchard Institute

JENNIFER CASSIDY, BA, MAS REVENUE CYCLE SPECIALIST

Jenny brings over 7 years of extensive revenue cycle billing and insurance collections experience with her to the TBI team.

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EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Gibbs therapy dog

Gibbs TOur & Therapy Dog

Gibbs was drawn into the field of substance abuse and behavioral health after her own personal recovery from a process addiction with chewing shoes and furniture.

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Blanchard Client Care Team